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On-line learning

Our on-line courses are packed with information. Take them at your own pace.

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Learning works best when there is someone there to help. Our on-line courses include virtual coaching to help you get the most out of them.

Coaching after your course


We run live workshops as public events or customised for your organisation.

Great workshops for Induction Programmes

We help organisations and entrepreneurs like you attract new customers and grow their business by developing knowledge and skills to market and sell with confidence. We believe in joined-up thinking.We help you understand what works and why, so everything you do makes a difference.

Our approach is refreshingly different. We help you understand how your marketing works from end to end so you know what tactics will work for you and why. Our on-line marketing course is called The NEW Marketing Blueprint because it takes a refreshingly NEW approach and gives you a blueprint or plan to build your own marketing strategy. We don’t leave you to do this on your own either, the course includes virtual support and we have extended support packages where we can provide personalised coaching to help you on your journey to grow your business. 

Please explore the many free guides, tips and resources in Ascent Learning and if you want to keep up to date with all the new marketing and sales content we publish please join our Ascent Club!

About Ascent Learning

Ascent Learning is part of Pure Potential, the leadership and management development consultancy established in 2000 by Olwyn Merritt. Through Ascent Learning we provide on-line courses, face to face workshops and follow-up coaching to help you apply what you have learned. As business leaders ourselves, we combine our first-hand business experience with consulting and coaching skills to help you achieve great results from our courses and workshops.

Neville Headshot Smart Cropped 1000px
Neville Merritt
Olwyn Merritt
Olwyn Merritt
On-line Courses

Our on-line courses are designed to be highly practical, containing guidelines, templates and downloads that you can immediately apply in your own workplace for quick results.

Helping you make it happen

Our courses and workshops include ongoing support to help you as you try out new approaches and use the knowledge you have gained. This means you can be assured that your investment in training will be amply repaid through results.

Sharing our experience

As experienced business people ourselves, we have been through the same challenges that you face. This first-hand understanding helps us guide our clients and ensure that our courses are highly relevant to the business environment today.

Unique Approach

We are different because of our unique combination. We not only know our subject inside out, we are also trained in sharing knowledge so we apply face to face training methods to on-line learning. Our on-line and workshop training is followed by a period of support to help you make things happen. Our courses explain Why, not just What. We are experienced at selling and negotiation, which makes us really, really good at marketing – we believe in a truly joined-up approach. Plus, there is no-one quite like us anyway.

Field Notes

Tips, guides and articles on marketing, sales and operations to help you grow your business

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“It ain’t what you do it’s the way that you do it”

Fun Boy Three and Banarama, 1982. Does that take you back? I am constantly seeing debates on LinkedIn arguing whether cold calling has been superseded by social selling, or that digital marketing is the way to go. All I’m reading is about “what” you do not the “way” that you do it. You know what? It doesn’t matter what you do if you aren’t doing it the right way. Whether you are cold calling

Let’s get rid of Marketing

Brian Halligan didn’t say that, but he made me think it. Brian is the founder of Hubspot, the sales and marketing app/suite/platform that has been a huge influencer in the world of business development since 2006. I was fortunate to catch Brian in a “fireside chat” session hosted by Christian Kinnear at the London Hubspot User Group meeting. Brian is awesome. He is one of those entrepreneurs who come up

How to ace a difficult client meeting

Have you ever dreaded going to a client meeting, knowing it was going to be really tough? It happens to all of us, and I have had my share of them. Some caused by my own actions, latterly in senior roles to take one for the team. I have learned some tactics over the years, which can not only make the experience less stressful, they can significantly improve the outcome.

Book Review: The Speaker’s Coach by Graham Shaw

Book Review: Graham Shaw: “The Speakers Coach – 60 secrets to make your talk, speech or presentation amazing”. You can add to that list: pitch, demonstration, lesson – or any communication where you want to attract, engage and inspire your audience. There are some lessons here that can be used in simple conversations too. I am a big fan of Graham Shaw. He is an expert at communicating visually –

How to get a good night’s sleep…

“I slept like a baby” How come people never say “slept like a stressed out marketing director?” For the very good reason that often, adults don’t sleep so well and as a result their energy and performance suffer the following day. We invited Dan Collins, Team Facilitator and Sleep Coach to speak at our January techUK Marketing and Sales meeting to tell us how improved sleep can improve our performance

“Black Box Thinking” by Matthew Syed (book review)

A colleague recommended I read “Black Box Thinking” by Matthew Syed. Not quite knowing what to expect, I did. And what a powerful message. A message about the value of learning from mistakes, and the critical importance of maintaining an organisational culture that welcomes the opportunity to learn from failure rather than punishing it. The title comes from the key example of the benefits of this approach. As you can

Data Protection that children would understand

Despite the publicity, there still seems to be mystique and misunderstanding about the Data Protection rules (GDPR) yet the principles are very simple. So simple in fact that you could explain them to a child. The original terminology can be off-putting but let’s see through that to the seven key principles in Article 5 of the GDPR which guide data protection: If you borrow toys (personal information) you must play

Happy GDPR Christmas Nonsense

I am sure you have come across some daft ways of making life difficult, attributed to GDPR. Here are a collection of some bonkers Christmas-related GDPR challenges and the facts behind them. You can’t contact parents to tell them what stall they will be running at the school Xmas Fayre because you don’t have their express consent  Churches cannot ask for Christmas prayers for named parishioners who are ill or

The next bigger thing (than the technology)

I was flattered to be included in the list of “Thought Leaders” at the IoT-Build (Internet of Things) Conference this week, and invited to join the panel to discuss skills and training needs for the workplace. Chaired by Matt Hatton of Gartner, we had an interesting and wide-ranging discussion on the changing skills required, which in turn is impacted by our education system, social and business cultures and even politics.

How to interact with your website visitors like a pro…

A Chat feature on your website can increase engagement particularly at that vital point when visitors are about to place an order or take further action. It also makes your business appear sophisticated, professional and well-established. You might have thought that having a Chat feature for website visitors is only for brands with big budgets and thousands of visitors. Not so. There are a number of Chat applications that can

Can I send an email without consent?

The G-word isn’t history yet, and there still seems to be confusion about whether you can send marketing emails to people. In fact it is not GDPR that covers this, but the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR) which has been around since 2003 – last updated in 2018. The ICO have a helpful checklist on what can and can’t be done here:  , and plenty of helpful guidance on PECR

DIY Marketing Video Tip #2: How long is long enough?

I attended the excellent London Hubspot User Group today, and at least half of the entire event was about video in marketing. The huge growth of video was predicted two years ago, but the actual adoption figures exceed all expectations. It is a really, really big deal for all marketers – and any other business communication for that matter. One of the questions that came from the floor was “How can

DIY Marketing Video Tip #1: Rule of Thirds

I’m sure that if you are a photographer or art student you will know this, but it is easy to forget why it was discovered and why it can make a difference to your videos too. When I was in art class aged…10 I think, I remember my art teacher drawing a straight line down the centre of a sheet of paper. He said “How can we make this more

Hope for the best, plan for the worst and expect to be surprised

This title is two quotes combined – from authors Denis Waitley and Lee Child. It neatly encapsulates a “light-bulb” moment I had during an excellent briefing on Business Risk, delivered by Nick Moon of Applied Resilience. I know this is not as exciting as sales and  marketing, but if we are to run a successful and sustainable business we need to make sure we can weather any storms that come

How to spot a marketing dinosaur

We recently hosted a seminar at techUK presented by Grant Leboff of “Sticky Marketing” fame, and it was a revelation. Grant has the ability to put into words the things you might have been secretly wondering about, and he is not afraid to challenge conventional thinking. Here in a nutshell is his challenge to the “Four P Marketing Mix”: Product, Promotion, Price and Place. These were introduced in the early

What the food industry can teach us about GDPR, and it’s not what you might think

Despite all the coverage of GDPR, I am still hearing people say “I don’t think it applies to us, or “can we avoid it somehow?” The answer is: GDPR is just as relevant to all organisations, large and small, as food hygiene and traceability is to all food manufacturers. However, food manufacturers don’t just comply with regulations because they have to, nor do they comply because they might get a

There is more to listening than not talking

You can’t go through sales training without having the importance of listening drummed into you. “God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason,” etc. etc. Yet I don’t remember ever being taught how to listen in those courses – developing an understanding of listening skills came much later, through management development and an interest in psychology. I wish I had learned before. My favourite sales quote comes

A-B-C Always Be Closing

Made famous – or infamous – by Alec Baldwin in the classic sales film “Glengarry Glen Ross”. It is associated with the hard sell, aggressive style of the stereotype snake-oil salesman. Sure, closing is important but an obsession with closing didn’t fit with my consultative sales style. Until the light came on. Another sales mantra I have picked up from several methodologies is the “Up-front Contract”. Put the two together

Why open answers kill your sales opportunities

On day one of sales training I expected you were told you have two ears and one mouth for a reason – you can sell more by listening. They explained how to ask open, rather than closed questions to get the prospect talking. Then there was the part about solutions rather than products, because our product is more than just a product, it helps the customer achieve something else. All

6 classic copywriting structures that still work today

Apparently John Emory Powers (1837-1919) was the world’s first full-time copywriter. Famous authors including F. Scott Fitzgerald, Joseph Heller, Dorothy L. Sayers, Salman Rushdie and Fay Weldon all spent time employed as copywriters. Writing copy that helps sell is not new, and many of the structures developed decades ago work just as well online and in social media today. Here are six structures that you can use to create interest

See all Field Notes


Neville’s blend of skills in sales and marketing, plus learning and development have been a valuable combination for our discussions. My primary gap in knowledge was marketing, and Neville’s vast experience and ability to listen and ask poignant questions has allowed me not only to understand the marketing process, but implement it into my on-line business as well as my face to face provision.

Nikie Forster

Curious Lighthouse

Neville is a particularly good match for my company because has personal and consulting experience in several industries – thus has a wide and liberal perspective on how different business styles can operate. He is patient and encouraging and has raised or elaborated on some issues that I might have struggled with.

Sonia Hutton-Taylor

Medical Forum (Burnout Geese)

What a difference to our sales tactics, marketing approach and above all confidence you have made to us in just such a short time too. Really appreciate your help.

Matt Wailes

Educational Play Environments

Having recently been tasked with increasing our ‘Digital Brand’, I looked to Neville for assistance. What I got in return was a content rich, easy to understand introduction to a world that I feel much more comfortable with now than I did a week ago. Thank you Neville, I’ll certainly be on one of your courses again!

Andy Wright

Cara Telemarketing

Here we are now, 5 months on in our new premises, with much more active Twitter and Facebook, a new Instagram account, a growing mailing list and lots of ideas for the future. You have been great at facilitating ideas – giving us confidence in ourselves.

Jane Young

La Bella Donna

This is just the sort of course I like – packed in and practical. We are very conscious we need to keep pace with multimedia use and marketing and this was just the job to provide the basics, plus some more advanced tips and the steps needed to develop our own strategy

Nick Moon

Applied Resilience

We felt that we got a lot out of the day and looking forward to putting everything we’ve learnt into practice.  The ground work you covered in the course is also important. . We thought both Neville and Martine had lots of tips and experience to offer us which we really appreciated, and more than happy to recommend the course. It’s useful in many ways.

Clare Blatchford-Hanna

Anode Outlet

Thanks too for all of the practical support on the Tender. That excellent tender template made all the difference when I started drafting away. It gave me a ready-made, logical structure from day one. You will recall that the client fed back that ours was the best organised and most impressive of all the tenders submitted – mainly thanks to you.

Andy Ashcroft



Here is a collection of our own videos and ones we particularly like from other contributors. There are also ebooks and assessments to download and enjoy.

Join our Ascent Club to get more

Marketing tips from Freddie’s Flowers

Four very effective marketing tactics used by Freddie’s Flowers that can be applied to any business, yet a surprising number of businesses don’t use them.

Why value has a higher price

How can one product sell at 54x the price of another, and perform the same function? In this video we look at what the customer is actually buying, which may not be what we are selling. We can set a price based on the value of the experience which is usually higher than the price of a product alone.

Video Tip #4 The B-Roll

How to make your video more interesting by adding “B-Roll” footage